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Mogo Tikki (Cassava Tikki) by Leena: An unsung Superstar Tikki

 Leena is a friend and life saver. I have known her for over six years now. From my days of being a student at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), paper submissions, endless night readings to the birth of my child, she has been with us thick and thin. Our weekends are better because of her Aloo paratha, her animated conversation, and endless suggestion of how to keep the home clean and tidy. Her knowledge of which product is sale in Wilkinson to where is the best place to shop cloths are as wide as her culinary skill.  Her recipes are also very different from a Bengali kitchen which attracts me a lot as I get to eat very unusual, unsung Gujrati home cuisine.  

Here is one of Leena’s best dishes that I have had: Mogo Tikki (Cassava Tikki)

What is Mogo or Cassava: From Wiki “The cassava root is long and tapered, with a firm, homogeneous flesh encased in a detachable rind, about 1 mm thick, rough and brown on the outside. Commercial varieties can be 5 to 10 cm (2.0 to 3.9 in) in diameter at the top, and around 15 to 30 cm (5.9 to 11.8 in) long. A woody vascular bundle runs along the root's axis. The flesh can be chalk-white or yellowish. Cassava roots are very rich in starch and contain significant amounts of calcium (50 mg/100g), phosphorus (40 mg/100g) and vitamin C (25 mg/100g). However, they are poor in protein and other nutrients.”

The Mogo picture attached is not my photo. I have taken it from Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassava

Makes: 10 depending on size of the tikka number can vary
Time: 1 hours including preparation
Level: very easy  

500gm cassava or Mogo
500gm yoghurt
2/3table spoon lime/lemon juice
1 bunch fresh coriander
3 Green chill (or more if you like it hot)  
1inch ginger’s paste
1 onion diced into small pieces
Salt and paper as per taste
2 teaspoon chat masala
Sev for garnishing
Tomato garnishing
Oil for frying the tikka
4/5 tablespoon Corn flower

Ingredients for coriander Chutney
1 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 green chili
1 or 2 tsp lemon juice
½ sugar (optional)
Black salt or rock salt or sea salt as required

Ingredients for Dates and Tamarind Chutney
½ cup Tamarind
½ cup seedless dates
½ jaggary
½ teaspoon coriander powder
½ cumin powder
½ red chilli powder (optional)
Black salt or rock salt or sea salt as required

Method :
1  1  Cut and clean  the Mogo in to small pieces and boil
2.      Meanwhile take all the ingredient for coriander chutney in a blender and mix it well. Keep aside. The consistency will be thick liquid
3.       Take all the ingredient for Date and tamarind chutney in blender and mix well. It will be liquid  in consistency
4.      Now the Mogo should be boiled. Mash them like potato
5.      Add salt, paper, ginger paste, green chilli, lime/lemon  juice, chat masala and mix well with the mashed Mogo
6.      Divide the mixture into small or medium shaped patties. Rub corn flower on both the sides of the tikki
7.      Heat oil in a tava or a shallow frying pan. Gently place the Mogo tikki and pan fry them. You can also deep fry them
8.      When one side of tikki becomes golden and crisp, turn over and fry the other side of tikki.
9.      Gently flip for a couple of times till the mogo tikki are golden and crisp evenly.
10.   Once done, then drain the Mogo  tikki on paper towels to remove excess oil.
11.    Arrange the tikka in a shallow deep plate
12.   Mix the yogurt with little water/milk  and pour over the arranged tikkis and let it soak for 5 mins
13.   Pour the coriander chutney and date tamarind chutney over the youghurt soaked tikkis
14.   Garnish with tomato, diced onion, fresh chopped coriander, sev and chat masala
15.   What are you waiting for? Dive in 

Chettinad Chicken Roast

Chettinad Chicken Roast

I was looking for a recipe that is easy to make. Now what is an easy recipe? Easy to make or takes less time or hassle free ingredients? What? What actually is easy for me!!!! What is it I am looking for? Hmmm! Good question! 

I am a mother of a toddler, I have an office that is madness, and I have a home that is a battle ground with small shoes, lego, blogs, pencils papers, baby cornflakes and bla bla da da things all over floor. Among all these madness of this thing called life…. I have an urge to cook. Cooking is my stress buster. But I need sometime easy. Something which can be whisked up just like that.  Something that I can make in between attending to my ever to active toddler and baking two, double barrel cake.

Hence is this recipe. Connotation of various recipes from the internet.  I made a so called Chettinad spice that can be stored and used at a later time making the cooking very easy, less time taking and can be made with very few ingredients that might already be in your pantry.

Ingredients for the Chettinad Spice/Masala  

5 dried Kashmiri Chili (go on use red chili if you like your dish hot!!!!)
2 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 cm cinnamon stick
2 cardamom
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon urad dal

Ingredient for the cooking the chicken

1 kg chicken (I used legs and breast mixed. You can use whatever you like)
2 tablespoon oil (any oil, I used Olivio )
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon urad dal
Some curry leaves
2 onions, sliced
2 green chillies (optional I didn’t use as my toddler eats the same food as us)  
2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
3 tablespoon shredded coconut (fresh or frozen)
Salt as per taste

Dry roast all the dry ingredient for Chettinad masala till there is a sharp aroma and grind to a fine powder in a blender. You can now store this masala in an air tight bottle to be used at a later time as well.
Wash the chicken
Marinate for 10 mins with salt, ginger and garlic paste
Heat oil in a pan and add in the mustard seeds and let the mustard seeds splutter. Add the urad dal and curry leaves  
Add the onions and fry till golden brown.
Add the marinated chicken. Add green chili if using
Pan roast the chicken till they are lightly cooked and burned on sides

  • Add shredded coconut and fry for another 5/10 mins

    Add in the ground masala  with chicken and fry 

  • Add a cup of hot water and cover the chicken till tender and water have reduced. 

    Now I made it little gravy kind to eat with rice. You can also dry is totally to eat with roti

    Remove from heat and serve hot with rice or roti or as starter
    ( if making as starter then I suggest dry the chicken) 


    • ( if making as starter then I suggest dry the chicken) 

    Three years, Motherhood & a Comeback: My ma's Chicken Paturi

    I am looking at my laptop screen thinking what is it that I really want to write? All that comes out of me is a long breath. Where do I start?

    It’s been three long years since I looked at my blog. And what an amazing three year it has been for me. My daughter was born in November 2013. My life, our life changed forever; she brought the joy that nothing can match. She filled every moment of my life. She makes me a better person. Motherhood changed everything - one has less time than usual, you become responsible for another little person who is totally dependent on you. Motherhood means dirty nappy, breastfeeding room lock, sleepless night, messy house, toddler tantrum, potty training, lack of adult company and the list can go on. Very common isn’t it? But trust me for all mothers, motherhood is above all, purest joy, is about that cuddle and mushy hug that only a child can give, about that gooey kiss on your cheek, those small fingers that holds you while she sleeps, that peaceful sleep on your chest while wearing the child, those morning teas that your toddler insists on making every single day and those kisses on your hand when you are hurt and those running towards you calling ‘mummyyyyyyyyyyy’ when you go to pick her up every single evening. Motherhood is magical and all child has a magic wand for their parents.

    Yes, that is what I was and am busy with: enjoying being N’s mumma. Nothing else mattered then and nothing matters more now.

    In the meantime, my blog grew. Like an organic being it grew on its own. With about 3500 Facebook likes and some thousands and thousanda of page visit it just grew on its own. My first child grew without me.

    My partner R has been insisting me to restart writing in the blog again.  I was not really sure. I am still not sure if I am ready. It takes a lot of time and dedication. But here I am giving it a second go.  

    I didn’t know what to start with. Most of the recipes that came into my mind was the food that I cook for my daughter. But I decided against it. I want to do a dedicated section on child friendly healthy food that everyone in the family can eat. For now I am sharing a recipe that is my favourite and my daughter loves it too.
    Hope you enjoy it

    And, hey welcome back to me and to you too. 

    Chicken Paturi

    Genre: Main course / Starter
    Category: Non-vegetarian (Chicken)
    Recipe Source:  Family
    Serves: 4 good portion 
    Time needed:  1 and half hour
    Level: Easy  

    Ma comes from an aristocracy. She never cooked, never had to. Then she married my father: a teacher and obviously poor, and they moved to North Africa.
    Everything changed after that. Ma had to unlearn almost everything that was her life. One of the most important change was the taste of food. My mother’s family hails from Noakhali. Hence coconut, fish/meat and banana leaf were the focal point of her palate. Paturi (food wrapped in banana parcel and grilled on skillet) was an integral part of their regular meal. She missed eating food that she grew up with. Missed fish, coconut, chili, oil and the spices. It is not like now, it was thirty years back - she could not call her mother to ask for recipe. Those days we had to go to the post office to make international calls once in a month. 
    For a long time she ate what was available and hated everything. Especially she hated the sea fish. Then she met a couple of Bangladeshi workers from Dauwee Company and got to know that there were some 300 Bangladeshi in the city. Bangladeshi’s take their food even more seriously than us, I feel (I am a bangal you see). Hence they had all the spices that my mother needed and more. Ma got her stock of spices from them and started experimenting with local produce - the so called fusion food. Chicken paturi is the result of such fusion between spices from Bangladesh and local produce of North Africa. She used to make them with cabbage leaf or silic leaf (don’t know the English name), as banana leaf was not available and would use chicken, eggs, in place of fish.

    I make paturi with cabbage and any green leaf that can be folded, like leaf of pumpkin. This one I made with banana as it is available in London, but you can try with almost all edible leaf and actually can eat the leaf. You can also use fish, prawn, eggs, fish row, paneer, potatoes to make paturi. Hope you enjoy the recipe and the experience of making it.


    1kg Chicken (mine was mixed of leg and breast. You can use anything it won’t make any difference)
    1 teaspoon garlic paste
    1 teaspoon ginger paste
    1 onion (large not very big)
    4 Kashmiri chili (for colour and aroma)
    1 teacup grated fresh coconut
    1 table spoon poppy seed (posto)
    2 table spoon mustard oil
    Green chili as per taste (for hotness I didn’t use any as my daughter will eat it too)
    Salt as per taste
    Two banana leaves
    Aluminium foil (in case you are as bad as me in wrapping the banana leaves)


    1. Wash chicken and marinate with ginger and garlic paste
    2.     In a mixer make a paste of Kashmiri chili, coconut, poppy seed, green chili, onion
    3.     Mix the paste with marinated chicken
    4.     Now add salt and oil
    5.     Keep aside for 30mins

    Take the banana leaf and wash it thoroughly
    7.     Now put the washed banana leaf over fire for few seconds at a time. You need to do this process to the full leaf on each side. This is to make the leaf soft and easily foldable.
    8.     Once the banana leaf is soft, arrange the marinated chicken on it and fold to cover the full chicken (you should be able to close both sides)
    9.     Now my mother can fold in a way and then tie using thread made with banana leaf that not a single drop comes out of the packet. But I am not good with folding. I fold the chicken in the banana leaf tightly and then fold it in an aluminium foil. This way I still get that burned banana leaf smell from my paturi.

    10. Smear a tawa with oil and place the banana leaf parcel on it and place on heat
    11. Let it cook in low heat for 30mins, by then some water will come out. Let it dry and then turn to other side
    12. Continue to keep on low fire for another 30mins and then turn off the fire
    13. Serve the paturi with oiled white rice or eat it on its own as starter.

    Badam Kala Kand (Cashew Nut Kala Kand)- Bengali Version

    Kala Kand is a pan Indian sweet with various versions depending on the state you are eating it. Largely, it is made with milk, cottage cheese, sugar and is usually decorated with Pistachio nuts. Many also make the sweet using milk solid instead of milk. Some use coconut, carrots etc with the milk to give a different flavor to the taste.

    I made the Badam Kala Kand on 17th Feb 2013 for Saraswati Puja celebrated by ‘Adda’ of Slough. The version I am making came about due to shortage of milk while making the sweet for 20 of our friends. So what did I do? I decided to add some broken cashew nuts to increase the quantity with the original recipe. And that how the birth of ‘my’ Badam Kala Kand


    2-Litre full fat milk for chana/paneer/cottage cheese

    ½ -cups sugar (or even less)

    2-litre Milk (or a can of evaporated milk. If using evaporated milk, then do not or use very less sugar)

    2-Lemon (juice taken)

    1-cup cashew nut broken using a blender

    Sliced Pistachio to decorate (use, as much or little you want)


    1.     Boil 2 litre the milk in a pan and heat well until boiling point

    2.     Slowly add lemon juice  to make the chana/paneer/cottage cheese

    3.     Drain the chana using a strainer/ Muslin cloth. Wash the chana so that it does not smell of lemon.

    4.     Hang the cloth for at least 1hour  so that water drain properly from the chana

    5.     Meanwhile in a heavy bottom pan heat the other 2 little milk stirring constantly until it has reduced to half. If using canned evaporated milk, then heat until boiling

    6.     Add the broken cashew with the boiled and halved milk or the boiled  evaporated milk (which ever using)

    7.     Stir for 5/7 mins

    8.     Then add the chana/paneer with the milk and cashew mix and cook until it is almost dry. You will need to stir constantly. it takes time as the flame needs to be on very low heat.

    9.     Add sugar and cook until sugar is dissolved

    10. Take off the heat

    11. Line a tray with parchment paper or rub oil all over the tray and spread the milk and cashew nut mix

    12. Sprinkle the Pistachio all over the tray and let it cool

    13. Refrigerate  overnight so that kala kand can dry well ( but remain moist )

    14. Then cut squares and serve cold or at room temperature

    Szechuan Chicken Noodles (Chinese)

    I made this one to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which was 10 February 2013. Somehow did not get the time to post the recipe on the blog. Any given day, Chinese food is always a welcome break from Bengali food that I eat at home.  But eating Chinese at a restaurant is not always as healthy and skinny as many like to believe. Just from the use of oil perspective. Yet, when I go out, I like to eat Chinese food over North Indian food. I also like Thai, in fact like it more than Chinese, Mexican, Italian and Greek food. All kind of Mediterranean is also my favorite. But not necessary all these are ‘cook is jiffy’ kind of recipes which is what I need on a week night. Or to be honest, all nights. Hence, Chinese cooked at home is my all time fev. In addition, I can change the ingredients depending on my mood and to suit my Indian palate.

    Here is recipe for THE MOST EASY SZECHUAN CHICKEN NOODLE, one can think of. Well, I can think of.  My measurements are for making noodles to serve two for dinner with no sides or starter. My noodle was not very dry, also not in gravy form. I used the measurement depending on my taste. Please feel free to modify

    Ingredients for the Szechuan Sauce:

    ·       1/2-cup tomato puree (or little less if you like)

    ·       1-teaspoon red chili paste (use hot version or more if you like hot)

    ·       2-tablespoon light soy sauce

    ·       2-tablespoon dark soy sauce

    ·       2-tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry or vinegar

    ·       1-large shallot or onion chopped

    ·       1-teaspoon ginger grated

    ·       1-teaspoon garlic chopped

    ·       ¼-teaspoon peppercorn roughly ground

    ·       1-tablespoon sesame oil or any white oil

    ·       Pinch of sugar

     Method for making Szechuan Sauce:

    1.     Heat oil in a wok or karahi

    2.     Add shallot/onion , ginger, garlic, chili paste, ground pepper corns  and fry for two minutes

    3.     Add tomato puree and fry

    4.     Add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar

    5.     Reduce the heat and simmer to 2/3 mins

    6.     Remove from heat. You can store it in a jar and keep in fridge

    Ingredients for Noodle:

    ·       300gm-medium egg noodles

    ·       1-chicken skinless chicken breast, diced

    ·       1-red bell pepper diced

    ·       1-yellow pepper diced (just for the sake of color.. use green, red, orange.. whatever you fancy. Also the quantity was on the idea to have some vegetable with dinner. So you as much or as little you like)

    ·       2-carrots, cleaned and cut

    ·       1-big red onion cut in four parts and then each section of the skin separated using hand

    ·       Salt to taste or use fish sauce or soy sauce to season ( I used fish sauce as I like the smell)

    ·       1-tablespoon sesame oil or any white oil

    Method for Szechuan Chicken Noodles

    1.     Boil the noodle as per the instruction on the package

    2.     Meanwhile heat oil in a wok or karahi

    3.     Add chicken breast and brown them well

    4.     Add pepper, onion and carrot  and fry them until brown but still very farm

    5.     Add the Szechuan sauce ( add little water in case very dry)

    6.     Cook until done

    7.     Drain the noodles and immediately pour over the chicken Szechuan sauce mix

    8.     Combine well, and in case needed, season with salt/fish sauce/soy sauce and pepper

    9.  Serve hot immediately  

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